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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 42 Number 6, November/December 2005
Pages 853 — 862


Abstract - Issues in maintenance and repairs of wheelchairs: A pilot study

Shirley G. Fitzgerald, PhD;1-2* Diane M. Collins, PhD, OTR/L;1-2 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1-4 Michelle Tolerico, BS;1-2 Annmarie Kelleher, MS, OTR/L, ATP;1-2 Peter Hunt, PhD, MPH;1-2 Stephanie Martin, BS;1-2 Bradley Impink, BS;1,3-4 Rosemarie Cooper, MPT, ATP1-2

1Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center of Excellence on Wheelchairs and Related Technology, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; Departments of  3Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, and 4Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Abstract — In this pilot study, we assessed wheelchair durability and its effect on user satisfaction. Specifically, we examined the characteristics of the participants' wheelchairs, the types of maintenance and repairs completed, and whether the participants' satisfaction was affected by problems with their wheelchairs. A convenience sample of 130 participants who used wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility was recruited. Participants completed a questionnaire about their wheelchairs, the maintenance and repair history, and their satisfaction levels. Results showed that 26% of the participants had completed a wheelchair repair in the past 6 months, 16% had completed general maintenance, and 27% had completed tire repairs. Neither hours of wheelchair use nor wheelchair age affected repair or maintenance frequency. Participants were generally satisfied with their wheelchairs. Better understanding of wheelchair maintenance and repair issues will guide improvements in wheelchair design and enhance the community participation of individuals who use wheelchairs.
Key words: community participation, maintenance, manual wheelchair, outcomes, power wheelchair, satisfaction, wheelchair, wheelchair age, wheelchair repairs, wheelchair use.

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